Zoya Akhtar is known for giving us hits like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, which had us ready to move to Spain in a heartbeat. She recently also gave us Dil Dhadakne Do, a feel-good movie that wasn’t like the other done-to-death romantic comedies. She speaks to DC about her latest project and her love for Mani Ratnam.
Zoya was recently brought on-board by Sony LePlex HD to be their community ambassador. Being a self-confessed movie buff (we guess it comes with the profession), she states, “At first I was bit torn because I didn’t know what Sony had in mind. However, once they told me about the content we’d be delivering, I really liked it. It was like talking to someone like me who enjoys movies and it was a comforting space where I didn’t have to be fake and could discuss our mutual love for good cinema.” She also says that being in front of the camera shooting promos wasn’t scary, but she still prefers being behind-the-scenes.
Rumours have also been rife about Ranveer Singh being cast in her next venture alongside Reema Kagti, titled Gully Boy. The movie about the street rappers of Mumbai has got all of Zoya’s fans excited, and the casting even more so. She says, “We really haven’t zeroed in on a cast. All I can say about the movie is that I came across a couple of artistes whose work I immensely enjoyed. I found them extremely interesting and started hanging out with them. That’s how the story of Gully Boy developed.”
We also ask her whether she enjoys Tamil cinema and had a chance to watch Kabali. She responds, “I’m ashamed to say, I haven’t seen Kabali yet. But I really want to, considering the phenomenal numbers it’s achieved. I’ve loved Mani Ratnam’s films since I was a kid. I really like his use of the camera and how he captures several actors in a scene. I find his work very fresh and it would be safe to say he’s my favourite.”
“I don’t really know the young crop of actors and actresses and haven’t seen them in action. But, I have been a fan of Kamal Haasan and Arvind Swamy in Kollywood, and Amala and Nagarjuna in the Telugu film industry, ” she says when asked if there is any actor she’d choose to work with from the south.
“I love Chennai, It has a lot of Japanese restaurants I enjoy. I have been to Mahabalipuram and Puducherry too. It has a really nice vibe. Everyone is super professional and prompt, and they start work extremely early as I have experienced when I worked there in the past. I couldn’t believe people wanted to schedule a meeting for 10 in the morning!” she laughs. “I’d love to make a movie in Tamil, provided I have an understanding of it... because the work ethic, camaraderie and professionalism is great here. Everyone supports each other.”
She also comments on the dearth of female directors by saying, “There’s a gender disparity in every industry. In films, I think women had a late start and didn’t get into the industry earlier. Now, there are tons of women in movies, on and off screen, and each year, the number keeps growing. In our own entertainment house, Excel Entertainment, we have three women directors who have made massive commercial movies — me, Reema Kagti and Nithya Mehra who has made the upcoming Baar Baar Dekho.”...